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Austin Butler Dedicates ‘Saturday Night Live’ Debut to Late Mother in Emotional Monologue Tribute

A sweet dedication. Austin Butler was eager to show off his hosting chops on Saturday Night Live — but he hasn’t forgotten where he came from.

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“When I wasn’t acting, I was actually a really shy kid,” the Elvis star, 31, said in his Saturday, December 17, monologue on the late-night series. “You know, like really shy, but luckily my mom [Lori Butler] decided to homeschool me and my sister [Ashley Butler] so I was also weird.”

He continued: “I love my mom [and] some of my favorite memories from growing up are she and I watching SNL together. We’d watch every week, and even though I had this crippling shyness, when I was with her, I’d do anything to make my mom laugh. … Being silly with her [was] what broke me out of my shell, and [is] the core of what started me in acting.”

Austin Butler Dedicates ‘Saturday Night Live’ Debut to Late Mother in Emotional Monologue Tribute
Austin Butler NBC

While Austin admitted that his mother “is no longer with us” following her September 2014 death, he wanted to dedicate his Saturday hosting debut in her honor.

“I’ve been thinking about her a lot this week, just imagining how proud she would be that her son who used to not even be able to order food from a restaurant is now standing on this stage,” the Golden Globe nominee gushed in his monologue, after noting sister Ashley, 36, was watching from the crowd. “And tonight, anytime you see me doing a silly voice or making a funny face, that’s for you mom.”

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Austin, who hosted SNL for the first time on Saturday, was joined by musical guest Lizzo to kick off the holiday season. The Zoey 101 alum, for his part, even starred in an array of festive sketches about Christmas, Hanukkah and generic holiday parties. In one memorable sketch, Austin dressed up as an elderly woman, who was very overwhelmed to see “Jewish Elvis” (Sarah Sherman) perform.

“I’m so horny, I’m gonna explode,” the Carrie Diaries alum’s character quipped to Cecily Strong — whose SNL appearance marked her final episode as a cast member— and Ego Nwodim in the sketch after seeing Sherman, 29, in her Elvis-inspired costume.

Austin Butler Dedicates ‘Saturday Night Live’ Debut to Late Mother in Emotional Monologue Tribute
Lizzo, Austin Butler, and Cecily Strong. Rosalind O’Connor/NBC

While Austin has been acting since he was an early teenager, it was his 2022 role as Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic that propelled him to worldwide fame.

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“There’s people out there that say ever since I played Elvis, my voice has changed,” the Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood actor joked in his monologue, referring to his Elvis character’s special dialect. “That it got deeper, more Elvis-y, but that’s not true. I’ve always sounded like this!”

Austin later concluded his SNL episode by crooning “Blue Christmas” with the Schmigadoon! alum, 38, in celebration of her final show appearance.

Saturday Night Live airs on NBC Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. ET.

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